You got people to your website, but how do you get them to BUY? There is an entire discipline in eCommerce dedicated to conversion optimization and today we’re walking through the most important things you need to do on your site to make sure the customer pulls out their wallet and spends those dollar bills.
Before we get deep into how to actually increase your conversion, we have to know where you're starting and what your current conversion rate is today. What I've learned is that many of you are converting way better than you think because the average conversion rate is so much lower than you think.
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The Average Conversion Rate of an eCommerce Store
If you didn't already know, the average conversion rate of an eCommerce website is only 1-3%. So if you fall anywhere in this range, that means you're doing all right.
Keep in mind conversion will likely be higher on desktop than mobile, even though you have more mobile traffic. But today, we're just really gonna focus on the overall number. When you start digging into devices and things like that, that's a whole other podcast episode. Even if you fall in that range, if you're in that 1-3% today, keep listening because I'm sure you will hear some stuff that maybe you don't have on your website or minor little tweaks you can make that you should be able to bump that up even a little bit more.
Why You Must Install Google Analytics for an eCommerce Store
The other thing that I want to talk about is where you're getting your data from. So Shopify and all the eCommerce platforms will have their own built-in analytics. And when you're just starting out, I'm sure that's where you're looking, and that's fine. But if you don't already have Google Analytics installed, you want to get that installed right away.
Here's the deal. Even if you don't plan on looking at it, and you don't understand what it means, and it's overwhelming, and all of that stuff, believe me, I get it… install it anyway. So at least it’s collecting data. That way, when you are ready to tackle Google Analytics, the data is already there, because it won't collect it if it's not installed, and it can't go retroactive. So it should really be one of the FIRST things you do when you launch your site.
If you are a six-figure business, you hands down need to be using Google Analytics, period, end of story. You just do. You can drill down so much deeper in GA than what your platform is natively going to give you. So when you start getting really smart about the business decisions you're making and tweaking the experience based on the channel they came in from and the page they landed on, and all that kind of stuff – you're gonna need Google Analytics to be able to do this. The moral of the story is, get Google Analytics installed, even if you don't plan on looking at it.
How to Optimize Your eCommerce Product Page for Conversion
Okay, so let's jump into the things that you can do to increase your conversion rate. And I'm going to start on your product pages because that is the bread and butter of your website. If you think of your homepage as your store window, your product page is your salesperson. The goal of the product page is to help your customers decide if they want to buy your product.
Photos are the Most Important Asset on Your Product Page
So the most important thing like literally, the most important section of your product pages is your images. Remember, your customer can't touch and feel the item like in a store. If it's electronic, they can't turn it on, there's no tester, anything like that. So the images are really, really important.
Make Sure You Accurately Represent Your Product in Your Images
You want to make sure that you are showing all angles of the product.
You want to get close up, make sure you're accurately representing the item, especially in clothing. I actually have this leopard print cardigan. I was so excited when I found it and bought it. I was waiting for it to come. I think it was like around the holidays and I was gonna wear it. I was super excited to wear it, it came. I cannot wear it out of the house. I look absolutely ridiculous in it. The shape is not at all how it was represented online. And I ended up not returning it because… busy, but it's just my house sweater now because I cannot wear it in public. I'm irritated and I'm much wearier when I make purchases from that company. Avoid that and make sure you are accurately representing the item.
Show Your Product Image in Use
You also want to show Images of your product in use, right so if it’s something that they use in their daily life or it's some sort of food product or a hair product or makeup or something like that. If it's a mug, you know, have a hand holding it. It doesn't have to be super over the top, but it should at least give the shopper something to resonate with versus just a product image itself.
Show Your Clothing on Models
If you’re selling clothing, you need to put them on models. Flat lays are cute, once in a while, but they really have no place on your product page. You need to have somebody in it so that they can understand how the item fits. And if you can get it on multiple models even better. That can obviously be more difficult when you're just starting. If you do have a wide range of sizes, it's definitely better if you can get it on a range of body types so the shopper can see; okay, this is how it's going to look on me. I'm really busty like her, or I'm really bony like her, I'm built like a hanger, everything just hangs off. You want to make it as clear to them on how this item is going to fit.
Having those close up pictures will help them understand the fabrication. Having it on a model helps them understand how it lays; all of these things are important. Think about how it relates to your specific product. I'm going to probably talk a lot about clothing here just because it's something we can all relate to and understand.
Avoid Using Vendor Images if Possible
If you can, avoid vendor images that every other website is also using. I know that this can be difficult. I know when you're just getting started out that investing in product images can seem scary. If you have a really wide assortment of products, the process of getting all of those taken, do the best you can, even if it's just you focus on the best sellers and the evergreen items that you have all the time. If it's something that you get in one pack of, and you're going to sell it in a week, then I understand it doesn't really make sense for you to invest in those. But if it's something that's going to be around for a while and a lot of other people sell it, definitely get your own photos. You should also put an image zoom feature on it on the images so that people can zoom in to get up close, there are apps that can do this for you.
Add Videos to Your eCommerce Product Pages
If you really want to go a step further, add video to your product pages; video is where it’s at my friends. Whether you're selling clothing or not, this will work for you. Maybe get on camera and give a demonstration of how it works. If you have makeup, beauty, hair products, something like that, even if you have a food product, you could have a recipe video on the actual product page.
If it's clothing, having a video of someone walking in the item. ASOS does a really great job at this, definitely go check them out. Think about what works for your product. But video is totally where it's at. And you can embed it on the product page, it'll go a long, long way. That's the closest you can really get to giving that in-store experience.
What Content Should be in a Product Video
And if you're not totally sure what that should look like, go watch the home shopping networks for inspiration. They've been doing that a long time and they are selling stuff to people who are just seeing it on TV and calling in their order. They're talking about the fabric of the item, they're putting it on, how does it feel to the touch, how does it look with other stuff so you can see how to work it into your wardrobe. Think about all the demonstrations that are done with products.
shows like that. How can you put that experience on your website? How can you recreate the experience of shopping in person onto your website, that's what you want to try and do and the easiest way to do that is through imagery and video.
How to Optimize the Product Descriptions on Your Website
Alright, so let's talk about your actual product descriptions. The first thing I want you to remember is to just talk like a human. How would you sell them this item If you were in person? Help them see how it would fit into their life or into their wardrobe. What problem or pain point is it solving? Make sure that you have all the information they need to make a purchasing decision and to help limit returns.
What Information Should Be in Your Product Descriptions?
Some of those things are sizing and fit. What material is it made out of? How do you have to care for it, right? I try and avoid things that are dry clean only because I'm probably not going to do that and then it will just sit around in a bag to go to the dry cleaner for like six months, and then I'll never wear it.
How does it run compared to a standard size chart? If you were in person with someone, if you were in a store, and they told you, Hey, I'm a size 8, and you know that this particular item runs small, you're gonna bring them the next size up. Make sure they know that when they're shopping.
How Should an eCommerce Product Description be Formatted?
You want to use a mixture of bullet points and paragraphs, studies show that people scan, they don't read. So you don't want big long blocks of text or paragraphs on your product page. But you know, some people will read those so kind of have the most important stuff, the stuff that really hits on that emotional trigger of why they want it, have that be front and center. And then if you want to add more information you can but that should be secondary. And that sort of leads me into the next point.
Keep the Most Important Information On Your Product Page Above the Fold
If you've never heard the term above the fold, basically what it means is what is visible on the screen without the customer scrolling. If you think about the monitor, what can they see when they first land on the page? You want the most important stuff up there, you might have to split your product description in order to accomplish this because if your description is super long, and it pushes your Add to Cart button all the way down the page that's not really great for user experience. So ideally, you would have a few bullet points or a little paragraph, whatever the main message of why they want this product, your Add to Cart button, and then have all your additional information below that so that they can go find it if they want.
You can also use anchor links to bring them to the more information section. If you think about reviews, which we're going to talk about in a second, you'll usually see by the product name or under the price, the stars and it will tell you how many reviews there are. When you click on that link, it will scroll you down to where the reviews are for you to read. So that's something you could also create on your website to have a more information link that then just goes down to the expanded description without taking up a bunch of space on the top.
You can also show that extra information either in tabs or in an accordion where you click on the plus button and it opens up. That's where you can put that additional information like material and care. If a shopper cares about that stuff, they're going to go look for it. I'm always going to look to see how much polyester is in a clothing item because I'm if it's 100% polyester, I'm probably not going to buy it because it's gonna make me sweat, but I go looking for it because it matters to me.
The Importance of Product Reviews in eCommerce
Let's talk about product reviews. This is so important, product reviews are so important! Incentivize your customers to leave reviews for your product. When they make a purchase, send them an email, hey, if you review this, get 5% off your next purchase, it can be super small, it doesn't have to be a lot, the review and the power that it has to help you sell that item to the next customer is well worth the 5% that that original customer is going to get off their purchase.
Why You Should Add a Q&A Section to Your Product Pages
Also see if your platform has the ability for Q & A. This might not be right for every product, but if it's a more technical product or something that people have a lot of questions about having that Q & A is golden market research for you because customers will leave questions in their language, what they're curious about, which can then be a prompt for content that you create or how you have to adjust your product information, frequently asked questions, how to market stuff, all the things. So if you can have it, have it. Just make sure you're there to actually answer them.
Should You Publish Bad Product Reviews?
Publish some of the not so great reviews you receive. If you only have all five-star reviews, one, that could seem a little fishy to the customer, but two, your product is not going to be for everyone. So let them figure that out before they purchase it and then want to return it – which will ultimately cost you more than if they just didn't buy it at all.
Quick Tips to Optimize Your Product Pages for eCommerce
A couple of other product page specific things is making sure you have breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are that miny little navigation that shows the path that customer took to get to that page. So usually you'll see like home, category and then the product. Not only is this good for the customer to help them easily get back to where they were before, but it's also good for SEO and it helps Google understand the structure of your site. There are some themes that let you turn this off, don't turn them off.
Limit the Calls to Action on Your Product Page
So some sites will have an Add to Cart button and a check-out now button. Test having only one of them. If you're a one-product store that checkout now button is perfect. If you have a wide assortment of product, it might be best to just stick to the Add to Cart button, but you won't really know until you test it. I would test each of them alone and see what happens.
Keep the Product Page Clean and Organized
The other thing is to keep it clean and organized. Make sure you have some whitespace. So the eye has a place to rest. You don't want everything super spread out, but you also don't want it super tight because then it's just going to overwhelm the customer and they don't know where to look.
Be Mindful of the Colors on Your Product Page
Avoid using gray for an add to cart button. Gray generally means something is not active, right? Like, oh, that's grayed out. I can't press that. So avoid using gray in calls to action. And look at the colors on your page and see what really stands out to you. You know, do you have some secondary call to action that you see before you see the Add to Cart button? Go on to your website and look at it from the user perspective? How does that look?
How to Optimize Search on Your eCommerce Website
Okay, so let's talk about some site-wide things that you can do. The first thing is to optimize the search on your website. And this is especially important if you have a lot of products. On Shopify, you will need an app to be able to do some of the things that I'm going to talk to you about.
Use Synonyms and Redirects
One of those things is to use synonyms and redirects where appropriate. Sometimes, if people just search the term dresses, maybe you're going to redirect them to the dresses collection, right? Because the collection likely has filters and sorting and things like that where maybe your search page doesn't have it. So get them where they're trying to go faster. Synonyms can also account for misspellings or just different words that mean the same thing. And you want to make sure that the search is showing them the correct product. You also want to make sure that your search bar is easily found like nice and big. If you can get it out of the menu on mobile even better. Most of the time it’s put into the hamburger menu. I think customers, in general, are probably used to that now but considering searchers are worth two and a half to three times more than someone who just browses your site, get it in front of them if you can.
That's one reason why Amazon, obviously, there's a million reasons why Amazon is successful. But think about how you shop Amazon, right? I go and I search, I've already decided I want to buy something and I'm searching for it. I'm not just like browsing through the pages of Amazon; their menu sucks. So by the time I'm on the website, I'm already like 70% of the way there to make the purchase. So make it really easy for those people.
Add Filters and Sorting to Your Category Pages
Speaking of those filters, and the sorting, if you don't already have that on your category pages, and you have a wide range of products like more than one or two pages, then you need that. A lot of the paid themes for Shopify will have this already included. You may have to set up some product tags in order for it to work. So definitely check out the documentation for your theme. If it doesn't have a built-in way to do it, there are apps that you can add in order to accomplish this.
Optimizing Your Navigation Menu
Let's also talk about your navigation menu. You want to make it easy for your customers to find what they're looking for. Keep it clear over clever.
You've probably heard me say this before, but keep it clear when you're naming the links in your navigation bar and your categories and all of that, put it in a logical order. If you have a wide assortment of categories, try a mega menu. Definitely monitor your metrics there.
I had a client that I worked with. She's got a very wide range of products. We switched her to a mega menu. And she started seeing that she was selling a wider assortment of products than before. There were so many products that people didn't even know were available. And once we implemented the mega menu, they were finding it and buying them so that was really awesome.
Why You Need Live Chat on Your eCommerce Website
Another thing you want to do is add live chat if you can, or a bot to answer frequently asked questions. So even though you have your FAQ page and all of that stuff, people are not going to go read those, they're just not. They're going to ask, they just want a quick answer to their question. So there are chatbots that will you set it up in advance like okay, you give them the options, for instance, to click I have a question about sizing, I have a question about returns, I want to check on my order. And then the customer presses those buttons, and then you decide what that path is and serve up the proper information to them. Live chat is even better if you can do that, even if it's just for certain hours during the day where you could be there or you have a customer service person that can do it.
Gaining Social Proof Beyond Just Gathering Reviews
And then another thing is social proof. So this is beyond just reviews which are
important, but there are other ways to have this as well. So you've probably seen this on other websites, but there will be pop up that says, someone bought this product one day ago, an hour ago, two days ago, I definitely wouldn't use that if you don't have a high volume of sales, because showing someone that someone bought something a month ago is not going to be helpful. And who knows if this is gonna have the opposite effect because it is a pop-up.
I've seen people have success with it at something that put it in there, let it run for like 14,21,30 days, depending upon how much traffic you get, and see what happens. You can easily remove it. But it's basically just showing, hey, there's stuff happening on this website. People are buying this stuff. These are the products that they're liking. And it's someone other than you, the person trying to make money, telling them and validating that you’re a good site to shop on.
Add Urgency to Your Website
If you have like limited quantities of items, you can put a notification that says, hey, there's only 10 of these left or these are going quick. How many other people are looking at a particular item or how many people have this in their cart, if you've ever shopped on Etsy, you've probably seen this. I think they use the cart one, so it will tell you, 30 other people also have this in their cart. Whatever you can do to show that other people are validating you, and that you are worthy to shop with. That's kind of the goal of all that stuff.
Let Customers Check Out as a Guest
I don't know that anybody is really doing this anymore, but make sure people can check out without creating an account. People don't want to add a password and all of that crap that they're probably never going to remember. Don't force them to do that. The platforms that you're using, if the customer is using the same email address when they place orders, is automatically going to group all of those orders together. So whenever they do decide to create an account, all that information will be there for them. And you'll still be able to see that they are a repeat customer. They don't need an account for that. So don't make them do it.
Must-Have Policy Pages for eCommerce
Add Multiple Payment Options
Give your customers multiple payment options. If you're using Shopify Payments, you're automatically going to get the majority of these but people are paying in all different ways. Plus, with all of the data breaches and all that weird stuff that goes on, people are still afraid to put their credit card into a website, especially if they don't know you that well. So offering them things like PayPal and Amazon pay even you know, Google pay, although digital wallets, Apple Pay. Those are things that people are more comfortable with. So give them as many options to check out as possible.
How to Show Consumers They Can Trust You
The last thing here is trust badges. I'm not going to get super deep into this. You can totally do more research on your own, but it is something worth testing. So these are like those little badges that you see usually in the footer of a website that shows this is site is secure, your information is secure. You might see Norton, McAfee, Better Business Bureau, things like that.
Studies show that these trust badges increase conversion. Personally, I've used them and have also seen no increase, and some of them you have to pay for in order to have that. So, it's worth testing out, especially as you're growing. And if you are a higher volume store, test it out, put it up there. See if it works while you're testing that try not to make any other changes. Otherwise, you won't know if it's related to that or not. And if it doesn't, save yourself some money and maybe you don't need it. If the cost is minimal to you leave it It's great. It's there. It's just kind of one of those things you have to test and see what is right for you.
The Importance of Website Speed for Conversion
Alright, so this next thing is important enough that it's getting its own little section here in my notes and that is the speed of your website. If your website takes a long time to load, people will leave. And the biggest culprit to this is usually images that are not optimized before you upload them.
I even had someone who had DM me on Instagram. This was a while ago when she was struggling to make sales on her website. So I went to her site, just check it out, see what she had going on, and it was so slow, like painfully slow. I told her about this tool to optimize her images, which she did. And it was like the next day or two days later, she DM me to say I made a sale on my website. So I certainly can't take credit for all of that but I'm 99% sure that the speed helped, so you want to optimize them before you upload them.
Tools to Optimize Your Website Images
If you are saving your images from Photoshop, save them as progressive JPEGs and then you can use a tool like Kraken.io. If you are on a Mac, you can use Mac ImageOptim. The Kraken.io is web-based so you can use that from wherever. And that will cut down the size of your images and help them load faster, which in turn will help your entire site load faster. I mean, you can do this with all of your product images as well. There's so much technical stuff that we can talk about in terms of speed and all of that, but really like focus on your images and you should be good to go.
Other Ways to Make it Easier For Your Customer to Shop Your Site
A couple of other just tiny quick wins things to keep in mind things that you can do to make it easier for the customer because that's ultimately your goal.
Automatically add discounts to Shopify with a Link
If you are on Shopify, when you're running promotions, when you are adding links into your emails to say hey, we have this promo going, use the links that automatically add the discount to checkout for them so they don't have to. This is perfect in the welcome email and your abandoned cart, email all that stuff.
By the way, if you don't know what emails you should have, definitely go back and listen to that episode, email automations you must have for your eCommerce store.
But, when you create the discount in Shopify, at the top, there is a button that says promote and if you hit that drop down, it will give you a link that will automatically add it to checkout for them. So it's a teeny thing, but hey, every little bit helps.
Be Clear Over Clever in Marketing
We already talked about being clear over clever but it's important enough to say it again. You know, being on-brand and in your voice and all of that matters and it's important and you want to do that but you also need to make sure that the customer understands what it is that you're saying, and ultimately you should be using their words anyway. When it comes to your product titles, your categories, your navigation menu, all of that stuff, use clear language that tells them what they're going to find when they click that link.
How to Deal With Customers Abandoning Your Website
Also, when it comes to abandoned carts and things like that 70% of people are going to abandon the cart. That's just the average. So you definitely want to have your cart abandonment email included in your email marketing program.
But additionally, you can use something called an exit intent pop up. So instead of a pop up, that shows when they first get to the website in order to collect their email address, you can actually have a pop up that triggers when they go to leave your website. This really works best on desktop because you actually have that movement of the mouse where you're going slide and close the tab, and doesn't really work on mobile.
But it's a great way to try and catch people before they leave. Maybe you put an offer on it, maybe you ask them for their email if you don't already have it. You can think about different ways to use this to your advantage. But it's sort of like a Hey, before you go, or don't leave.
Maybe it's just like a free shipping offer or something like that. You can do this in
Advanced Strategies For Increasing Conversion on Your eCommerce Website
Okay, so the last thing is, this is going to be the more advanced stuff. So once you have
everything else in place that we talked about, and you've got all of that dialed in, then you can start thinking about some of these advanced strategies, but I definitely want to mention them for those of you who are a little bit further in your business.
So the first thing is on-site personalization. And this is key if you have a wide assortment of product, or you talk to a few different customer avatars. What on-site personalization does is it takes the data that it has on that browser, that person, the user, and it will show them different content. You can actually change out your homepage content!
So instead of having one static banner that may or may not be relevant to them, you can change the content based on the segment that they fall in. So this is an advanced strategy. You're going to need a tool to do this something like Nosto which actually works really nicely with
Start thinking about if that would be relevant to your business. If you're hitting that six-figure mark and you have a wide product assortment, this could be really valuable for you.
A/B Testing Content on Your Website
Another strategy is A/B testing on your website. So you've probably heard me talk about A/B testing email subject lines and content. But you can also do the same thing on your website.
You'll also need tools for this something like Google Optimize, which is actually free missus where people will actually test the color of the Add to Cart button. Or they'll test different layouts against each other just like you would test email content or add additional content, things like that. So you can actually do that on your website.
Understanding Your Conversion Rate & What You Need to Optimize
And the other thing and this is I would actually start doing this part even before you do things like personalization and A/B testing, but when you're really looking at your conversion, and you're trying to figure out, how do I increase this, or how am I doing? You want to dig deeper than just that high-level number.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, we're just talking that high-level average, we're not going to talk about devices or anything like that. But as you get more sophisticated, you really need to drill down because you know, your brand search, like someone, let's say you're doing paid advertising, people who are searching for your brand name, that conversion is going to be through the roof. Whereas your organic traffic or maybe your social traffic, that's going to convert lower. And so you really want to focus on the experience that you're giving those specific people when they land on your website so that they convert better.
You also want to think about the customer journey and the different steps that they take while they're on your website. And this is really where Google analytics comes in and where additional strategy comes in. That's why I'm saying get all that other stuff in place FIRST, before you come to this step.
That is, really it's a whole other podcast episode. And it's gonna be so specific to every user. If it's a place where you think you're at and something you're ready for, definitely reach out, we can book a one-on-one strategy session and kind of talk through your specific business, but I just want to sort of plant those seeds for you. So you know where you're going and what's really possible, and how granular you can get in an eCommerce store. It's really kind of amazing.
Okay, so this was another episode full of so many things. I know it's a lot. Don't worry, I got you. There's a guide. a checklist a downloadable for you. The link will be in the show notes or you can go to eCommerceBadassery.com/05 to get yours.
Your Number One Goal as an eCommerce CEO
And before I leave you today, I just want to remind you that your goal as an eCommerce CEO, is to create an experience that gets your customer from one step of the buying process to the next. If you leave them out there to fend for themselves, you're going to have a hard time converting them. So keep that in mind when you're going through this list of everything that we talked about today. And you're walking through your website, and seeing what tweaks you can make and where you can improve. Think about your customers and how you get them from point A to point B. And lastly, when you are testing things, only test one at a time, otherwise, you won't know what's working.